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On The Duggars

May 26, 2015

Sexual Abuse Silence

I don’t want to talk about the parents.

I don’t want to talk about how they raised their children in a cult.

I don’t want to talk about Josh Duggar.

He’s a child molester.

I don’t want to talk about his “reform.”

Josh and his parents insist that he is no longer a danger, but Josh and his parents are also the people who hid his sexual assault.

So maybe their word is not so valuable.

Oh wait, I’m sorry, I misspoke. (mistyped?)

Their word means less than nothing and I would be perfectly happy if they would shut the fuck up.

I don’t want to talk about the family’s connection with Hobby Lobby.

I don’t want to talk about the fact that the place that Josh was sent to for “counseling,” the place wherein the family claims that Josh underwent his “reform” was run by a man who is also a child molester.

Because, you know, that was probably an ideal place for some sort of reform to come over him.

Or not so much.

What I want to talk about is the people who aren’t talking.

We’ve heard from Jim Bob and Jim Bob again through Michelle and Josh and Jessa’s father-in-law and Mike Huckabee and any number of other people who I don’t care about and should shut up forever.

You know who we haven’t heard of?

His sisters. His victims.

The people who matter.

Because let me be explicit, JOSH DUGGAR DOES NOT MATTER. Not in the least. Not even a little bit.

Neither do his parents and their ridiculous TV show.

Their word means less than nothing and I would be perfectly happy if they would shut the fuck up.

His victims matter.

Those girls matter.

And they are being silenced.

By their father, who is supposed to protect them.

By their mother, who is supposed to fucking protect them.

By the cult they grew up in, which sees women as temptation personified, even if by women, we are talking about female children.

By the television network that is profiting from them.

When someone hurts you, mentally, emotionally, physically, you react. And generally that reaction has volume.

You cry.

You lash out.

You shout.

You curse, whatever.

But the victims have been silenced.

That silence is a continuance of the abuse.

Because that’s what abusers do. They convince you, coerce you, or force you into keeping the secret of the abuse and to their twisted, predatory logic, complicity in your own abuse. They tell you it’s your fault until you believe them.

Silence is poison.

I’m not saying that I am demanding a statement from the victims. Personally, I find the idea of ever asking one of them about the possibility of abuse to be horrifying.

That is a thing that should never, ever happen.

it’s totally going to happen, but it shouldn’t.

I’m saying that it is clear that their parents and their abuser and the cult to which both their parents and their abuser belong don’t want to hear their voices.

They want the victims to be silent.

When they are ready, when they have escaped the cult of their childhood and become their true selves, and in so doing they realize that NOT ONE THING THAT HAPPENED TO THEM IS THEIR FAULT, when they realize that they have voices, I want them to feel free to use them.

I WANT THEM TO SCREAM THEIR TRUTH.

I want them to cry and fight back and smash things.

I suggest the patriarchy.

I will listen I will believe them.

And then I will leave them all the way alone to heal.

scream

Let’s Talk About Community Standards

May 23, 2015

I’ve written before about Facebook and how it hates you. And how they are huge liars.

Guess what? That is pretty much still true.

In this specific case, instead of supporting sexism and the victimization of young girls, as they have in the past, Facebook is enabling and assisting racism.

So that’s lovely, except no. It really isn’t.

It’s awful and should stop.

Tony Robinson was shot by a police officer who was called to help him.

Shooting is really not all that helpful.

His family (full disclosure, I have met certain members of his family and they are lovely people who have frankly, suffered enough) has reported this page for, among other things, using their intellectual property, defaming their family member’s name, mimicking an actual support page, and the seizure of the page and the perversion of its original function.

But the page is still up and still posting hate.

Let’s examine the About section, wherein it specifically says that the page has been stolen.

Justice for Tony Hijack

The text reads: “This page was stolen from a defender of criminal Tony Robinson who rightfully died at the hands of the Madison Police Department as he engaged in violence.”

And apparently Facebook is OK with that.

Let’s also look at this:

Text reads: "Thanks to my Anon friend who works at Facebook and was able to restore my page. Your shenanigans have failed, totalitarian scumbags! I now fully own this account as the other admins have been fully removed due to your reporting actions!"

Text reads: “Thanks to my Anon friend who works at Facebook and was able to restore my page. Your shenanigans have failed, totalitarian scumbags! I now fully own this account as the other admins have been fully removed due to your reporting actions!”

So just to be clear, not only has Facebook responded to every report of this page with confirmation that despite the fact that it was stolen from the actual supporters and is being used to defame both the victim of violence but his family and the fact that it is both overtly racist and clearly bullying, the page does, actually, adhere to their community standards.

Facebook supports and defends this kind of racism and harassment. And since I am more than willing to take a moment to model a tinfoil hat, how did this person get access to the original Justice for Tony Robinson page in the first place? Yes, their “friend who works at Facebook” could be a purely fictional attempt by a sad, hateful person to make themselves appear more powerful or connected than they really are. Or it could be that there is an extremely hateful and racist person who works at Facebook who possibly helped their friend access this page and is helping them keep it, which should not be acceptable to anyone, let alone the people who run a major corporate entity.

At this point, given the person or persons who run this page are claiming direct support from some aspect of Facebook corporate, which you would think that someone else at Facebook should care about. because even if this is just one person who is horrible and his friend who is also horrible, they are being horrible under the guise of at least a modicum of support from Facebook.

If it were me, and clearly it isn’t, because if I were in charge of this shit I would have just removed the page or reverted it to its original owner, I would make extremely sure that my giant, lucrative, publicly traded, business moved itself quickly and decisively away from this kind of harassment and cruelty.

Why don’t we encourage them to do that? Go report. And when they respond to making it clear that they think this kind of page is perfectly acceptable to them, challenge that. And then do it again. Perhaps, if enough of us are diligent we can get rid of this foulness.

This is White Supremacy in America

March 19, 2015

The same people who claimed that this

George-Zimmerman-with-bloody-nose-jpg

was a justifiable reason for shooting a kid in the chest a couple of time, are insisting that this

bloodyface

is a perfectly reasonable response to a kid trying to use a fake ID.

Ask me again why black people require fundamental change in the power structures of our nation. Do it. I dare you.

The Best Of Intentions

March 9, 2015

I’ve had a surprising large number of conversations with my town’s Police Chief lately. Large being a relative number, since I’ve gone most of my life without talking to any police in various towns in which I’ve lived. So three. That’s large for me.

This is him at our March for Justice in December. He came. He marched. He listened and has continued to do so.

Rochester Police chief

I believe him to be a sincere person. I believe that all of the conversations he has had with members of the racial justice group in my town, Rochester for Justice check us out on Facebook,  are genuine.

I also believe that as a white person, he simply doesn’t have to think about police interactions with the public in the way that a Person of Color or a Black person (they are not the same) does.

In one of the conversations he and I have had, he made an interesting and edifying point which I’m going to paraphrase for you. In essence he pointed out that most people think of incidents of police violence as a one plus one equation wherein the only elements are the officer and the victim of violence. However, in reality there are three elements; the person who calls the officer, the officer and the victim of violence.

Keep this equation in mind. Person who called = C, Officer = O, and Victim of Violence =V

C + O = V in the event that violence takes place. Because let’s be honest, here in Rochester, we generally don’t get to the kind of V that places like Ferguson, MO does.

Got it?

Good.

With that in mind please recall that Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watchman who has gone on to be arrested for a violent act every year since he killed an 18-year-old boy.

Eric Garner was killed by police who were called because of a fight, a fight which Eric Garner helped defuse.

Mike Brown was killed for jaywalking.

Tamir Rice was killed for playing with a toy because the 911 caller identified the 12-year-old boy as “a guy with a pistol.”

John Crawford was killed for attempting to buy a toy rifle.

Darrien Hunt was killed for dressing up as a anime character and carrying a toy sword.

I want to add one or two more things for you to keep in your minds.

First, that black children, especially boys, are seen as more criminal and older overall by society at large. And let’s not forget that police officers are members of society.

And second, that traditional diversity training is somewhat less effective than many of us would like to believe.

Do you have all of that?

A sincere and involved police chief who understands that C + O = V dilemma, a society that looks at its black citizens as more dangerous simply due to their skin color, and the necessity of long term training to overcome ingrained biases?

All of it?

Cool.

Do you remember a couple of paragraphs ago when I pointed out that despite the fact that our police chief is sincere and involved he’s also white and as such, doesn’t have to think about certain things in the way that black people and other POC do?

Last week my local news did a lovely story about our police department expanding a year old program which, after one whole hour of training, empowers local dog walkers to catch and report suspicious activity to the police.

In other words, the Rochester, MN police department is asking its citizens to identify suspicious behavior and suspicious persons with all of one hour of training.

C + O = V

People who live in our society and are therefor subject to the biases built into our society are going to determine which of their neighbors is safe or acceptable in a space or what behavior is acceptable within a space.

C + O = V

And if they don’t find a person or a behavior acceptable they are going to call in the first part of that equation.

Not only does this program exist but it is being expanded. The training isn’t being expanded at all, just the number of training sessions available to the public so as to empower a larger segment.

Rockwell today

In case I haven’t been clear throughout, this scares me. My very first thought when I read this was, “someone is going to get killed.” Because I’m black and that’s the kind of thing I have to think about as a survival skill.

Privilege is that ability to not think about things that way because you don’t have to.

Because C + O can lead to V, especially if, as in the Tamir Rice case, the person is described as just “a guy,” and not a kid. Or, as in the Trayvon Martin case, the person doing the deciding has a serious issue with violence and the desire to use it. Or as in John Crawford’s case someone thought it would be amusing to make a prank call. Or, as in the Darrien Hunt case, someone thought a man carrying a toy sword was dangerous. In almost all of these cases, someone called the police because they saw a black person and reacted with fear. They saw a black person and assumed malicious intent. They saw a black person in a certain space or acting in a way that most people who aren’t black can safely act and they decided that person was “suspicious.”

Those calls happened and people died.

So I have to ask the very sincere and involved police chief and the city council and the mayor and the citizens of Rochester, MN, why are we encouraging this? Why are we inviting the kind of tragedy that other communities have suffered recently? Why are we, as a community, looking to people with only one hour of training and asking them to look at their fellow citizens in a fair, rational, unbiased way to determine whether their behavior or presence is acceptable or if it is enough to become the first part of a potentially deadly equation?

PoliceBrutality

When Liberals Make Me Face Palm: WHY THE HELL DO I HAVE TO KEEP WRITING THESE THINGS?

February 24, 2015

How many is this now? Six?

I can’t with this shit.

And yet I have to because this is the world.

I was all set to do a breakdown of Patricia Arquette and how her statements were problematic. I was going to do a whole deal wherein I pointed out the claim of hurt feelings by her and people who support her is typical of the modern Left. More than anything, I was going to make a point about how to fuck up and bloody fix it rather than dig the hole deeper.

Read Miki Kendall. Read Imani Gandy.

But then the world gave me such great example of the right behavior that all of that has been done for me. Also, better writers than me have done the heavy lifting.

Look, people fuck up. We exercise our privilege without thinking. I’ve done it. It’s one f the hazards of talking out loud in any sort of public space. It’s a problem but one that everyone can respond to in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Here is the not thoughtful and respectful way to respond when you fuck up.

 

.

Here is the correct way to go about rectifying your fuck up:

 

 

Do the second one and if you’re not willing to do that then deal with the consequences of your shit.

 

This Year’s Kind of Valentine

February 14, 2015
tags:

From someone who really hates this stupid holiday.

A-loves it though. I don’t get it but that’s one of the things that you do for the people you love. I refrain from muttering about how this holiday is simply a set up to fail and she refrains from complaining when I fail.

This makes the third installment in what has become What a Witch’s traditional “Why My Girlfriend is Awesome” post.

Three counts as a tradition on the internet, right? Because this makes three.

Let’s go with yes.

Look everyone, we have a tradition!

Yay us.

For those of you new to the blog please see : AvP in Real Life and Why I Should Not Be Allowed To Talk to Other Humans Without Supervision.

So why is she awesome this year.

She broke her ankle in December, which is not awesome, but she rode it out in a sparkly pink and purple cast and its rainbow sticker and the green toe cap I knitted for her.

Abby Cast

Yep that happened. That is an adult human leg. She looked like Lisa Frank and the My Little Ponies got together and mugged her.

I mock because I love…and because it’s true.

So while she was literally stuck on her ass for right weeks all she really had tome to do was sit and think and watch Netflix. What did she watch on Netflix? Shows I don’t get.

I do not understand why this is funny.

I do not understand why this is funny.

The Office? Not my thing. Totally her thing. Not at all my thing.

Also, Parks & Rec.

Is this funny? I don't even know.

Is this funny? I don’t even know.

As I am the kind of person who has a teeny, tiny, very slight tendency to over think things this can make gift giving hard as I don’t really understand her fandoms. So I kind of just throw a random search term out there and hope that what I get her is cool.

In the process of her recovery, she added to her already encyclopedic knowledge of shows that don’t make me laugh. Oh and we picked up MMO gaming again which is something we left behind when we left our narcissistic ex. For those of you who haven’t experienced the fun that is doing anything at all with a narcissist, failure of any kind is THE END OF THE WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSE!

Totally failing at a quest and nearly getting very killed has never been so fun as it is with A-, mostly because our reaction to that total failure is some variation of “Well that sucks. Wanna try it again?”

So I’m going to stop typing now because after our luxurious V-Day dinner of drive through Wendy’s wherein neither of us had to cook and I got to stay in my pajamas we are probably going to go try to not get killed in Azeroth.

As always, Love you A-. Happy Contrived Romance Day. I love you all the other days of the year just as much.

.

Dear White Women

December 13, 2014
White Silence

I see you. I hear you. I read your comments. I know what you think because you make it clear.

If Mike Brown had never gone into that store, if Eric Garner had just done what he was told, if Tamir Rice hadn’t been allowed to play with a toy gun, they would all be alive now. What happened to them was sad, but they brought it on themselves, right?

You show no sympathy for Mike Brown or Eric Garner or the other black people killed by the police. You show no empathy for me, as a fellow woman, as a black woman who has once again watched her country fail.

(OK, fine #NotAllWhiteWomen. I get that, but if you’re not doing these things then I’m not talking to you.)

I, on the other hand, have empathy for you. I get where you’re coming from. I do. I am female too and I live in the world and in this country. It has been made clear to us from the beginning of our lives that we are not valued either. Further, it has been made clear to you, White Woman, that Black Men are the greatest danger you could possibly face.

Now that isn’t true but the lie is hard to overcome seeing as it has been repeated so many time and in so many ways.

Like I said, I get it. I do.

But it’s not OK and you need to stop it. You need to reach down into yourself and find both sympathy for the dead and empathy for those still living. You have to. This is not optional. You have to do it for your own mental and emotional health. You have to do it for your spiritual health, assuming you believe in such a thing. You have to do it because to do otherwise is to ally yourself with your own enemies.

Does this surprise you?

Nope. Sorry. The people who most benefit from things like this, not just to police officers that are killing people but the politicians and regular citizens who see violence against the people they don’t value as a tool of control? They hate you too. They hate you and they hurt you.

It’s not like the people who are defending the Darren Wilsons and Daniel Pantaleos of America are respecting and valuing women while they disrespect and devalue People of Color.

That doesn’t happen.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that at least some of the people reading this have been in abusive relationships. Because, you know 60% of women have.

I need you to remember what that was like. Remember being in the thick of it. Don’t look back on it from a place of (what I hope is) improved mental health and physical safety. That’s who you are now.

Remember who you were then.

Remember the person who defended and made excuses for her abuser.

Remember the woman who explained away bruises and tears.

Remember the first time.

Remember the tenth time.

Remember the hundredth time.

Remember.

Now remember what your abuser said to you.

If you didn’t make me so angry.

If you did things right.

If you were more respectful

That person convinced you that you were responsible for your abuse. They convinced you that you were to blame and that only you could improve the situation. They convinced you that if you acted in a specific way, which they defined and changed at will, you would be safe.

They did. That’s why you stayed.

Domestic-violence-007

Please don’t think I’m blaming you for staying. I’m not. I am one of you, not a White Woman, but a survivor of abuse. I stayed too.

I stayed for a lot of reasons but the primary reason was gaslighting. I bought in to the idea that my understanding of relationships; that they should be based on shared respect and autonomy, on valuing the basic humanity of your partner and working together toward a better life, was wrong. I allowed myself to be convinced that I was misremembering every snide remark, every deliberately hurtful action, every dollar spent to keep us poor and desperate.

And I stayed, just like you. Not only did I stay, I tried to be less provocative. I tried to be what he wanted me to be because I believed that it would stop if I could just figure out the magical formula that would make me acceptable and respectable.

Because gaslighting fucking works. It’s horrible if you are subject to it, but it’s effective. That’s why they keep doing it.

You dressed like a slut. If you had just worn clothes that were decent you would have been fine. You deserved it.

You didn’t have my dinner on the table. If you could just keep house properly you would have been fine. You deserved it.

Why are you crying? Words don’t hurt. You’re so emotional. You’re overreacting. If you would just stop being such a crazy bitch you would be fine. You deserve it.

And you know what? America has been gaslighting our black citizens since about 1619.

Civil rights Violence

Taryvon was just a thug. He wasn’t a kid walking home who was attacked for walking while black. If  He deserved it.

Mike Brown stole! He attacked the officer! If he had just not committed a minor crime, if he had just been respectful to the officer he would have been fine. He deserved it.

Eric Garner was illegally selling cigarettes. If he had just accepted the three police officers surrounding him and aggressing against him after he broke up a fight and helped his neighborhood, he would have been fine. He deserved it.

Black people are just thugs.

Black people deserve it.

It’s not true.

You know it’s not true, just like it wasn’t true when your abuser tried to gaslight you into responsibility for your abuse.

Remember, as well those moments when you had taken so much that rather than staying silent and accepting the abuse in the hopes it would lessen the duration of each incident, you let your pain show through.

Remember what happened? Either your abuser showed what you couldn’t admit at the time was satisfaction, because that’s the point of abuse, for your abuser to feel their power over you, or they doubled down on the gaslighting.

They made it about them. They told you how much It hurt them to hurt you. Or maybe they didn’t even admit that they were hurting you. Maybe it was just another example of you being “crazy.” Oh how good they were to you that they would stay and put up with that kind of “insanity.” Aren’t you grateful? Don’t you feel sympathy for their pain?

You know what is true? Not only did you not deserve to be abused, you deserved a healthy and respectful relationship.

Not abusive is the absolute minimum that a person should be able to reasonably expect from an interaction with another human,. This applies to relationships between individuals and interactions between the society and the citizens that make up that society.

I mean, clearly it isn’t, but it should be.

Now I want you to remember something else. Remember the moments when you felt like you couldn’t take any more but did.

Not the moment you decided to leave, that is coming up. I mean the moment you kind of got through to your abuser for a minute and convinced them, somehow, that maybe they should not abuse you so constantly and overtly.

The abuse didn’t stop, of course, but you may have had a moment or a week or a month of respite. You had a period of time wherein maybe instead of screaming in your face that you are a cheating slut and punching you, your abuser just checked you text messages and stalked you.

It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been, so it felt like good. You forced your abuser to step back and mitigate the worst of the abuse and that made you feel powerful and in control. It also created a situation where you were more accepting of “lesser” abuse.

Yeah, abuse skews your perceptions. Because what the fuck is lesser abuse? I typed it and I don’t really know what it is.

It skewed to perceptions of black Americans to the point wherein lack of respect and recognition of our basic humanity felt like good as long as we had access to lunch counters and didn’t have to sit at the back of the bus.

We convinced ourselves that not being overtly abused was the same as not being abused at all. But we were wrong.

Just like you were wrong when you believed that being stalked was the same as not being abused.

We, all of us were wrong.

Why? Because we were trapped in the idea that this relationship, be it personal or societal was the best we could do.

And that’s not our fault. It’s an extension of the gaslighting. It’s what they told us and told us, over and over again, in shouts and whispers, with fists and bullets, until we believed it.

Now I want you to remember the moment when you were done.

Whatever it was, whatever thing or thought or feeling that led you to get out and first I want to say that I’m glad. I hope you are healthier now. I hope you are happy. I hope you are safe.

Second, I bet that the moment we knew we had to leave was very similar for all of us. No matter the actual form it took, at its core, that moment is the one wherein we stopped buying in to the concept that a little bit of not abuse is the same as healthy and happy and safe.

It is the moment you knew that you had value, that you have a right to respect, that you deserve better.

Let me say that again:

YOU DESERVE BETTER

And so do we.

You deserve to live life happy, healthy, and safe.

So do we.

You woke up and valued yourself enough to step, or run, away from that unhealthy, unsafe environment.

We woke up too but we can’t really just dump our country. I mean, some people can but those people have already moved because they had the money to do so.

For the rest of us, while we appreciate the fact that we don’t have to sit in the back of the bus anymore, that America has stopped the larger, more visible abuse, the more insidious “lesser” abuse continues. It is American society reading our texts and stalking us. It’s not healthy. It’s not safe. It’s not the kind of life we all deserve.

We deserve better.

We deserve not to be criminalized for existing.

We deserve the same basic steps that our justice system says are our right.

We deserve to not be summarily executed because we have been accused of a crime.

We deserve to be able to adjust our waistline or reach for our phone and not have the whole world respond as if that is a threat.

We deserve that, just like you deserved not to be abused.

Everyone deserves to live a life free of abuse and when you White Woman, person I can usually count on to be my ally in struggles against the 1% and misogyny or for Gender and Sexual Minority rights and marriage equality, refuse to stand with me on this issue of race and the value of black people in America you ally yourself with my abusers.

You become just like the person who hurt you.

You hurt us through your indifference and your willingness to gaslight us.

You hurt us with your colorblindness and you insistence that our pain, black American’s shared pain has so little value that we cannot name it. You hurt us when you tut and wag your finger and tell us that all lives really matter and I shouldn’t concentrate on “just” black lives.

You hurt us when you shake your head at the violence in Ferguson and ignore the 100 days of peaceful protests that preceded it and when you ignore the blatant provocation of the authority figures in that community.

When you do this, when you devalue our pain, when you try to co opt it and make it about you, when you tell us that we deserve the abuse that is heaped upon is, it chokes me. It chokes me with anger. It chokes me with disappointment. It simply chokes me and I can’t breathe.

White Silence

Photo credit to Rose Colored Photo.

It chokes me, because I know that you can do better than this. I know, as a fellow survivor, that abuse is not an easy thing to live through. It’s not an easy thing to leave behind. I know that you can do better than this, in your everyday life, in conversations and online.

I know that you have both the fortitude and the integrity to shut down other people when they start to act like the people who abused us both.

I know that you have the ability to look silently outraged at someone until they stop trying to convince you and everyone who is listening that Tamir Rice deserved to be killed for playing with a toy gun.

I know that you have the strength to ask why it matters that Mike Brown may have stolen some cigars and to point out that petty theft isn’t actually a crime that one can be executed for in this country.

You have the responsibility to speak out in spaces where my voice, and the voices of the people who look like me and are most directly impacted by the issue of racism will never be heard.

I know that you can do this because to think otherwise lessens you as a person of strength who survived so much and I won’t do that to you.

I believe that you will do this because to believe otherwise brings back that choking sense of disappointment and righteous anger and I can’t breathe.

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